Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee! by Andrea Loney; Illustrated by Keith Mallett
James VanDerZee was just a young boy when he saved enough money to buy his first camera. He took photos of his family, classmates, and anyone who would sit still for a portrait. By the fifth grade, James was the school photographer and unofficial town photographer.
Eventually he outgrew his small town and moved to the exciting, fast-paced world of New York City. After being told by his boss that no one would want his or her photo taken “by a black man,” James opened his own portrait studio in Harlem. He took photographs of legendary figures of the Harlem Renaissance—politicians such as Marcus Garvey, performers including Florence Mills, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and Mamie Smith—and ordinary folks in the neighborhood too. Everyone wanted fancy portraits by James VanDerZee.
Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award, Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee! tells the story of a groundbreaking artist who chronicled an important era in Harlem and showed the beauty and pride of its people.Interest Level: Grades 2 - 5 Reading Level: Grades 3 - 4